7 Benefits of Working from Home | Jonathan deBurca Butler
Today’s guest blogger is Dublin-based media solutionist, journalist and remote worker, Jonathan deBurca Butler.
Jonathan has been working from home for over two years and in that time he has learnt a lot about the dos and don’ts of remote working. Below, he gets straight to the point in sharing with us some of the benefits he’s found whilst working from home.
I get an extra hour of life everyday because I don’t have to commute. Don’t get me wrong some people use it very productively. I know one person who wrote his first two novels on the DART but my lack of commute means I’m not grumpy in the morning and bringing that negativity into an office.
Chat is lovely and social interaction is great. Some people live for it in the office space and it can be great for people who are new to a town. But chatting or as I like to call it ‘talking rubbish’ [edited: not exactly the word he used :)] takes time. Imagine you chat to five colleagues for five minutes every day (a conservative estimate). That’s twenty-five minutes a day and over two hours a week. At home you chat to nobody unless you want to.
As a follow on from the point around chat, working from home keeps you away from office politics. You are oblivious to the ins and outs of the everyday workings of the office and so you get on with the job in hand. I’m not aware of any studies that have been done on this but there’s a PhD for someone on the ill effects of office gossip and how much it slows down productivity and can create a toxic environment. That is not to say that every office is a bad place to be but rumour and chat are again unnecessary distractions.
Just five minutes
“Have you got five minutes?” is something that a person working from home never hears. Distractions are at a minimum at home. That might seem unbelievable but it’s not if you make sure to make it that way. Discipline is the key to making working from home a success. I’ll expand on this in another post.
Since I started working from home my productivity has soared. Without wishing to be a complete asocial (I do have friends) the lack of distraction has improved my levels of concentration. I get so lost in my work that I often don’t notice the time passing – which can be a problem for the people who look after my son in montessori. This has had a knock on effect in that I’m so immersed in my work when I’m alone, that even when on the odd occasion there are others around me, it’s as if myself and my work are ‘locked together’ in some third dimension. Even in public situations I’m now so connected to work that I can block out distractions I wasn’t able to before.
It’s easy to leave things on the long finger. But because I’m self-employed I can’t afford to. This has taught me that you need to get things done in the time you have allotted yourself, even if there is apparently nothing to do. What I mean by this is if you get something finished within your ‘allotted time’ use what’s left to start the next project or to find ideas for the next project. You never know when three articles come in all at once, so get any regular stuff out of the way when you can and keep those ideas popping out. When you work for yourself, there is always something to do.
I have never monitored this but I imagine my costs have come down in terms of my daily spend. No weekly bus fares, no take-away coffees, no €6 euro sandwiches from the deli. It all adds up. Of course I still nip out for a coffee on occasion but I’m not using it as an excuse to get away from the office so I can have my own space.
… until next time!
Guest Blogger: Jonathan deBurca Butler is a media solutionist from Dublin. He has written for scores of newspapers including the Irish Examiner and Sunday Independent for whom he curates the monthly Book that Changed my Life column. He is a regular contributor to the Sean Moncrieff show and runs his own media company audioclub.ie
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